Episode #48 Stay Focused; Overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome

November 17, 2020

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You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 48.

Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. The all inclusive podcast that teaches mindset and business tools. We'll help you rise as your authentic self. Be unshakable with your emotional freedom and unstoppable in achieving any goal and living your purpose. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. If you want to put your mental health first in life, relationships and business, you've come to the right place.


Hello, my strong friends. How are you doing on this cold wet November morning? Things in California are feeling pretty good with this rain coming down. We don't get rain very often. So when we get it, it feels great.

My Freedom Grove Business Update

I wanted to give you a little update in my business because this is pretty exciting news. I have hired my first virtual assistant. As a solopreneur, I have been trying to do everything on my own. Because I wanted to figure out how you actually go through and do all of this stuff, so that I would be able to turn around and help anybody else who also was going the solopreneur route. One of the benefits with that of course, is you can keep your costs really low. But after a while, once you start making some money, then you have more flexibility. Now you've created money in which you can afford to pay someone else to help you.


Why would you want to do this? For me, I had all sorts of obstacles that were popping up. And as you know, when I work through my Clarity Steps on any goal that I'm trying to achieve, I'm always writing down what are all of my different obstacles.


I was having obstacles popping up and hiring a VA is my experiment. That's actually going to take care of three obstacles and even their little baby obstacles that go with them. So I specifically hired my VA to start writing out the transcripts and show notes for these podcast episodes. I'm also going to have her, help me with creating some social media posts that repurpose the content of these podcasts and there's reasons for that. I'm going to share what my obstacles were and why I would choose to invest money in having someone help me to do this.


So first and foremost is always my customers. Everybody has different learning styles. And I know that podcasts are great for people that have an auditory learning style. For me, I always had a visual learning style, but having audio helps me to fit it into my day. But there are many people that prefer to read. That's their learning style. So I didn't have transcripts for most of my podcast episodes. That was just because of a time constraint on my part. I had so many parts to do and so much to learn, that I made the conscious choice to just go full steam ahead without transcripts. I do have a couple of episodes that had transcripts that let me check out the metrics to see was that something that people were looking at. The answer was yes. So having a way of serving my customers that have a reading learning style is really important to me.


Also I was getting feedback that some people wanted to be able to go back and reference the episode without necessarily having to listen to the whole thing. They'd already listened to it once before. There was just one specific part they were trying to find. So having a transcript would help someone to just scan over it really quick, find the part that they were looking for and then be able to go about their day.


Another obstacle that I had was the number of people that I could help. I have a group coaching membership that has many spots still available. In fact, there's no limit to the number of people I can take in the group coaching program. It's something that will grow and expand over the years. And I also have a couple more one-on-one spots that are still available. So being able to reach all of the people who might need my help is really important to me.


One of the ways that people are starting to find me is through Google searches. Google searches use words on your website to be able to find you. Well, I have a lot of words on my website, but not nearly as many as if I had my transcripts from my podcast available. Also finding the specific things within the podcast, that I was talking about, would be really helpful. If you've ever seen my descriptions on my podcasts, it's about 500 words or less. That's because that's the maximum allowed for iTunes. But on a website you can have as many as you want to. And it's going to help Google to be able to help other people to find you.


Also having little snippets of the podcast is helpful for someone who's considering, is this the podcast that's right for me or not? So there's this thing called an audio gram. I've tried it a couple of times. I have it for a few episodes. It just takes one to three minutes of the podcast episode. I can put that out there as a social media post, someone can listen to it, decide, Hey, is this a podcast that I might want to listen to? They hear what I'm talking about. They also get to hear my voice because maybe they haven't experienced me before. They get to find out is this the right fit for them? That's super helpful.


And also some of the social media posts, because again, we have lots of people that just like to read. They might not have time to be able to listen to things, or they might not be in a setting where they can listen. I mean, how many of us scroll through Facebook with the sound turned off? And we miss out on hearing the different videos that we could see, but we have the ability to read posts. So if I have little pieces from my podcast in my social media posts, then people will be able to connect more. And know, "ah, that might be an episode that I want to go and listen to or read the transcript." So that is helpful also.


And then finally my time. There's so much more that I want to create: workshops and more classes. Because as I meet more people, I learn about more of the struggles that they're going through. I have ways of working through all of that. I have years of experience coaching people when I was working in the corporate environment. So just about everything that someone is struggling with is already something that I've helped people with. Numerous people. So I would love to be able to provide all sorts of workshops and ways of helping people so that they can resolve their struggles.


I didn't necessarily have enough time to be able to create all that. If I'm going back and trying to do this remediation project on my podcast. So those are all of my obstacles. That's quite a bit. But if I could have somebody that I could hire, that could help me to do this remediation, then that frees up my time and it resolves these obstacles.


And here's the cool thing. I found somebody who completely aligns with part of my mission for My Freedom Grove. My Freedom Grove is all about lifting each other up and rising together. So I had had several people approach me asking if I had worked for them. They weren't necessarily interested in podcasting or social media stuff or being an entrepreneur. They were just looking for a job. And of course I want to help them out. But I also had somebody approach me who had already been studying the world of social media marketing.


She had found the Marie TV videos that were out there on YouTube. She knew that I had gone through Marie's B school. She knew that I was doing social media marketing as part of my business model. And this was something that she wanted to get into. She found it fascinating. She'd been studying it for about a year or so. And she's looking for a way to create an income for herself and to take care of her family.


I thought this is a perfect opportunity. Because she has learned things that I may not know. And she actually has a passion and an interest around this. And she could see herself developing her skillset, creating a business for herself where then she could help other people. And I'm connected to a huge amount of entrepreneurs, especially online that are doing social media marketing. So I could help develop her, have her help me at the same time and introduce her to future clients, to keep her business going. And basically people that I know that need her kind of help. It's win-win across the board. Super excited. Can't wait to get started.


So if you're a solopreneur, and you're at the point where you have more work on your plate than you can handle, consider hiring a virtual assistant.


Today's episode

One of the struggles that many of my clients, and other folks out in the community that I've been talking with, struggle with, is shiny object syndrome. If you haven't heard of shiny object syndrome, once I explain it, you'll be like, "ah, that's what you call that thing."


So yeah, it's when you're trying to stay focused, you have a goal in front of you... It could be a big goal or maybe your goal for the day...and as you set about doing it, all of a sudden something catches your attention.


So this is what we're calling a shiny object. This could be a squirrel, right? Squirrels aren't shiny, but you know what I mean? They catch your attention. It's something that just jumps into the peripheral of your vision and you think, Oh my gosh, I have to go take care of that squirrel, the shiny object. Oh my gosh, I have to have this shiny object. Or have to spend my time on that shiny object. And what happens is, that you go after that, and your goal that you had planned on, that you were really excited about doing, is sitting there without having your attention. It doesn't move forward.


I want you to be able to continue going on your goal. Now that does not mean that you don't get to have those shiny objects. It doesn't mean that that squirrel doesn't get your attention because these are pretty cool things that grabbed your attention, right? So they might need some acknowledgement.


Your goals are so important to you. How can you stay focused and overcome your shiny object syndrome?


I'm going to go over 3 things today that helped me to stay anchored and focused, and acknowledge those shiny objects and cute little squirrels.


       1 STEPS -.Having the right steps in front of me for my goal and in the right sequence.


  1. SHINY OBJECTS - Acknowledging those shiny objects. And let me tell you, shiny objects are another word for obstacles, right? We go over the clarity steps and we talk about how obstacles get in the way from you getting from point A to point B shiny objects are obstacles.


  1. SCHEDULE CRASHES - That is where you already have your day planned out, your time planned out, and then something comes and crashes that time. That's also an obstacle that gets in the way of you getting from point A to point B.


All right, so we're going to go over steps, shiny objects and schedule crashes steps.


You've heard me talk about The Clarity Steps. That is in episode number 10, I lay out everything on The Clarity Steps. The Clarity Steps are a way for you to achieve any goal while putting your mental health first.


And when I say any goal, I mean, any goal. Like these could be super small things, just like I want to get my laundry done today. And I can't. I haven't been successful at that. Or I start beating myself up. All the way to... I want to start my own business, or I want to start a social movement, right? This, it could be big. It could be small. It doesn't matter. The Clarity Steps always help you.



One of the steps within that process is figuring out all of the steps that you have to figure out between where you are now and where you want to be.


You notice that I say "figure it out" a lot. That's because when we do mindset work, a lot of it is around Growth Mindset. We always feel limited when we first start off on a goal. Thinking it's just too big, it's too scary. We feel defeated ahead of time. And we give up. That is a Fixed Mindset. But having a Growth Mindset, you know that you can always learn. You can always try new things. You can always get help. You can always learn from other people. You can be completely unstoppable as long as you're willing to always keep learning and always keep growing. So I call that in a nutshell, "figuring it out."


Steps - When someone's coming up with a goal, a lot of times they'll think of, okay, action item one - I do this action. Item two- I do this action item three. I do the next thing. That's assuming that those are going to work out and give you the exact result that you need.


Oftentimes you're going to find that those steps don't always work for you. But if you can figure out that higher level...


What do I need to figure out? And put that as your step.


And then...What do you have to figure out after that?


And what do you have to figure out after that?


And then what do you have to figure out after that?


When you break these steps down into the smallest increments that you can, this is really going to help you out. Because when you can focus on just one of those steps at a time, you don't overwhelm yourself. When your steps are too big, and they include too much stuff to figure out, your brain might start to freak out. It's going to get overwhelmed. It's going to think, Oh no, I can't do this. This is just too big.


Or you start thinking about the next step, and worrying about that. And then you forget all about the first step you were working on, and then jumped straight to the second step.


You have to think about your steps and what is most important for you in those different timeframes. How can you break this down into small steps so that you can have enough focus on that one? Complete that step. Figure out everything you need to, before you move on to the next one.


It's quite possible that you could have a hundred different steps that you're figuring out. Now, I know you're probably thinking, Oh my gosh, a hundred steps to get my goal?!? But these are little tiny steps. These aren't big giant steps.


So break them all up and then think about the sequence of those steps. What makes sense for you?


So for example, if you are starting something with a business... Of course you want to have that full income that you're looking for. I mean, we all have a minimum math number to keep a roof over our head, keep food on the table. But that math number might change over time. So the minimum math number that you need in the next two months might be substantially smaller than what it's going to be a year from now. When I first started, I didn't need to worry about having enough income to be able to pay a virtual assistant. But now that I do, my minimum math number is going to go up a little bit. But that, wasn't what I needed to worry about at first.


So think about what is that minimum math number that you need now, and then what are all of those little micro steps that you have to figure out between now and making that minimum amount? And then when you want to go a little bit further, and take your business to the next level. Then what are the next little steps that you have to figure out?


One of the little tricks that helped me when I was trying to figure out all of my steps was, to use post-it notes. I just data dumped my brain onto these post-it notes. What's everything that I have to learn? What's everything that I have to figure out? And write it all down. I may go through several pads of these post-it notes if I needed to. Some of them afterwards, I could combine into one step.


For others, I realized I need to have them in my first goal. And all of the other post-it notes are going to be for this second goal, right? You might have a goal that is only going to be for a three month duration. And then you pick up the next goal that would be for the next three month duration. You don't have to have the full goal on your plate all at one time. So put those other post-it notes off to the side. Focus on just the post-it notes for your very first goal that you're going to go after. And then once you have it on post-it notes, it's great. You can move these around to figure out the sequence that you need.


Once you have this all figured out, keep it visible for yourself. I've had so many clients that go through this step, and they love this step and they get it. And they're like, yes, I can totally make traction. This all make sense. And then it just falls by the wayside. They don't look at it again. They think it's a one-time exercise. And they're like, Oh, I'll remember this, no problem. And yet then when the next things pop up, the shiny objects or the schedule crashes, they forget that they had already decided they would stick to one step at a time. And even what that step was.


So if you can keep this out and visible for yourself, whether this be post-it note, you can transfer this onto its own sheet of paper. If you want to. You could have it as a spreadsheet. However you want it. Have that visible so that you remind yourself, 1'Oh no brain. I know that you're freaking out about this goal. Cause we always like to think of the very end result, but that's not what your focus is on."


Your focus needs to be on one step at a time. So have that out, visible. When you start to have your brain do its little freak out, then go. Yep. Here's the one step. The rest of it. Thank you brain. I appreciate you're looking out for me. But this is the one step I said I would focus on.



So let's talk about shiny objects. Shiny objects are going to pop up all over the place. This could be you scrolling through Facebook and you see a new course that pops up and you think, Oh my gosh, yes. If only I knew how to do this one thing, I would be able to reach my goal. And so then you want to jump in and do that course right away. You sign up, you spend your money on it. And then you realize over time that you've collected like five or six courses. That if you were to actually sit down and take the time to do, would take you probably 60 hours worth of work, if not longer. And they're just sitting there collecting dust. Because it was so great in the moment.


Because we all buy from our feelings. And we want to buy the result.


But a course is buying the opportunity to learn how to figure out something. Just throwing money at something, doesn't give you the result. You actually have to do the work.


Courses can definitely be a shiny object.


There can also be events that pop up that you really want to participate in. Maybe there's a new movie that has come out on Netflix. I'd like to say in the theaters, but we know most of our theaters are still shut down. So, say a new movie pops up on Netflix. Or you hear of a new series that's binge-worthy. And you're like, ah, I really want to go do that. So of course, because our brain is looking for escape from the hard stuff, when you're going after a goal, and you're trying to figure stuff out, you're making your brain work.


So if all of a sudden something fun shows up that doesn't require your brain to work. It's like, Hey, you can have this little break. Then of course it's a shiny object. And we're like, Oh, I want to go see this. This is going to be great. Cause again, we're going after our feelings, our feelings influence our actions. So that's why all of the mindset work is so important. If you can catch yourself doing actions that you don't really want, you go back, you figure out the feeling that caused that. And what was the thought now? Could you make that thought be about your goal instead of going and seeking comfort or excitement? Because if, you're watching something for comfort, then maybe there's some comfort that you need in your goal that you're not getting. Right?


Because usually our goals are hard. Maybe a little scary.


Of course our brain wants to go to comfort. So that could be something. I could go through all of the different shiny objects. I know that you probably already are aware of some of the shiny objects that happen in your life. So what do you actually do with them? How can you stay focused when all of these shiny objects keep coming at you? Every which way? Well, that's to acknowledge them.


If you have a list that you can write this down on, write it down. When I teach The Clarity Steps, I talk about having an obstacle list. Because a shiny object is just an obstacle that's getting in the way of you meeting your goal. Now, if you already had time set aside for that shiny object, that's one thing. That's not an obstacle because it's off of the path of your goal.


But if all of a sudden it is taking up your attention during the time you had set aside to work on your goal, then it's an obstacle. So write that one down on your obstacle list. You're acknowledging it for yourself. And either it was a feeling that you really wanted to have, that you weren't already having. Or it was a result that you wanted to have that you weren't having yet. Write all of those down. What was the thing that you wanted? And since you've done number one, where you have all of your steps mapped out, you can look at that. Even do a little cross reference of where does that fit into your steps? This one's going to be a key.


Because especially these courses, the courses are going to help you so much in your growth towards meeting your goal. You know, we have to learn, we have to figure things out. But when had you decided from a sequencing standpoint? When were you going to learn that information? Look at your steps. And then, you know, when I get to that step, here's this thing. I already wrote it down. Maybe you even keep the link. You can copy the links to any of those Facebook ads that pop up. There's these three little dots at the top of any ad that shows up in your Facebook feed. Click on that. There's a "copy this link" and send that to yourself in a text or an email. That way you always have a hold of getting into that course at some other time. But it might not be the right time on your step sequence. So you're acknowledging all of these things that are squirrels or shiny objects. That, that they're really good, but they might not be the right time with obstacle list.


We also make a notation next to it. How frequently does this come up for you? Because if it's something that comes up a lot, that's an obstacle that's ready for an experiment on your part.


All obstacles are either a mindset obstacle or a process obstacle.


You know how to do experiments. If you've followed any of my podcasts, or if you're already in either a one-on-one program with me or the group program, I've taught you about The Clarity Steps. And about obstacles. And how to do experiments to resolve those obstacles.


If there's a shiny object going, Hey, over here, over here, over here, over here! Eventually you're going to succumb and go do that thing. And it might derail you. So an experiment around it...it might be getting to something that's more of a root cause than actually taking the course. It's a very interesting thing to do to figure out what is the root cause of that obstacle for me. And it could be that you do have your steps out of sequence. In which case, you'd need to go back, reevaluate the sequencing of your steps and decide no, actually this one really is a problem for me. It's a process obstacle and that is a viable solution as an experiment.


But oftentimes it's going to be a mindset obstacle and we have different ways of handling those.



All right. So finally, let's get into schedule crashes.


If you haven't heard this term before, you're going to want to grab this. Because this is a really great, objective way of talking about just about everything that can happen in your day that's going to derail you from the task at hand.


So you've got your shiny object stuff, or your squirrels. But schedule crashes are something different. Schedule crashes, or when something is grabbing your attention, that it seems very, very necessary. So for example, homeschooling is a big thing right now. We don't have the option not to, in most places. So if we're working from home, and we have our schedule of the day, of everything that we have to do, and all of a sudden we get requests coming in from the teacher... Hey, we need your attention right now. Or come drop off homework right now. Let's do a meeting in an hour.


Those are scheduled crashes. Like those are things that you probably have to do, but they have crashed your schedule. It could also be things like technical stuff. Like your internet goes down. Or you're having a lot of lag issues. Write all of these schedule crashes down. Because schedule crashes are just obstacles. They're just getting in the way from you getting from point A to point B. And these can also have experiments to resolve them.


This goes again on your obstacle list. The more frequently that these things happen, the more likely it is that you're going to have to do an experiment around it. And so that could be a mindset experiment. It could be a process experiment. When other people have things that are very necessary for you to do, but they're not giving you enough notice. That, in itself, is going to require an experiment.


I had to do some with my daughter's school. Because they hadn't considered that parents might need advanced notice. They hadn't thought about having a specific date and time that happened every single week for drop off of homework. Because we can adjust our schedule as long as we know a constant for a date and time. But if it's all over the place and you're not getting it with a reasonable amount of lead time, it becomes a schedule crash. You can't predict for it.


When you have a business that you're running, or you have a goal that you're going after, that is time sensitive, you're looking for that routine cadence of all your activities. To do schedule crashes can be a really big obstacle. So write them down.


I start off each day with my daily intention page. Here are all the things that I plan on doing. Then as I go throughout my day, if things come up that are crashing my ability to complete those activities during those timeframes, I write them down. That way I know...when do I need to do an experiment to resolve this? Because if a schedule crash just happens like a one-off, okay, no big deal. But if it's something that happens repeatedly, it's something that needs to be resolved. Because it's going to get in the way of you achieving your goals.



So those three things are how I helped myself to stay focused and to overcome shiny object syndrome and to overcome schedule crashes. So hopefully that has helped.


So that is:


  1. STEPS - Having the right steps broken down small enough and in the right sequence.


      2. SHINY OBJECTS - Acknowledging all of the shiny objects and keeping a list of them.


  1. SCHEDULE CRASHES - Acknowledging all of the schedule crashes and keeping a list of those so that eventually you can do those experiments.


All right, my friends, I hope that you found this helpful to keep you on track for your goals. Your goals need you to achieve them. You're going to be doing these really great things in life. Let's make it easy for you. Clear out all of those things that get between you and getting those goals done.


All right, my friends have a great week. I will talk with you next week. Bye bye.


Thank you for listening to the My Freedom Grove podcast. When you're ready to dig in, do the work, and create the life that you want, I invite you to work with me directly. Individual coaching is available to all of my listeners. For my male listeners. I also offer unshakeable men's online group coaching program. For more information, visit my [email protected] I'll see you there.

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